Dengue outbreak in Argentina on track to break records


Buenos Aires/Salta: A major outbreak of dengue in Argentina, a mosquito borne disease It can be deadly, on track to break previous records, reflecting widespread concern around South America where hot and wet weather has led to a surge in cases.
More than 120,000 cases have been recorded in Argentina so far in the 2023/24 season, the majority in the past two months. This puts it well ahead of last season, which was already the worst on record.
“We are experiencing Argentina's greatest dengue outbreak“There are 200% more cases than the same time last year,” said Mariana Manteca Acosta, director of diagnostics and investigations at the Malabran Institute and an expert in infectious diseases.
Symptoms of dengue include high fever, headache, vomiting, skin rash, and muscle and joint pain that can be so severe that the disease is called “break-bone” fever. In some cases it can cause more severe hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding that can lead to death.
There have been 79 deaths in Argentina so far this season, according to the latest government figures.
Neighboring Brazil is also grappling with a surge in cases, with dengue spreading into areas where it was not previously found.
Most cases typically occur during the summer months from February to May in the Southern Hemisphere, when the weather is often hot and humid. But this year a higher number of cases have been seen at the beginning of the season.
Government data shows there were nearly 103,000 cases of dengue in the first ten weeks of the calendar year, ten times more than the 8,343 cases recorded in the same period last year, when the main peak was later in April.
Valeria Medina, 36, who is being treated for dengue at a hospital in the northwestern Argentine province of Salta, said there is not enough awareness of the disease and some people face difficulty getting diagnosed and treated.
“It's a disease that no one pays much attention to, but it's ugly,” Medina said.
Eduardo Lopez, an infectious disease specialist at Ricardo Gutierrez Hospital in Buenos Aires, said this season is almost certain to surpass last year's.
“As anticipated, we will surpass last year,” he said. “We still have all of April, the rest of March and at least 15 days of May. So we're going to exceed 130,000 cases. This year is going to be a record.”
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) last month issued a warning over rising cases across the region, with the highest number of cases reported in decades last year.

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